Pro-life, Anti-Dean

People who want the “morning-after” pill to remain prescription only feel this way because we believe it is a form of abortion. The idea of the pill is to kill any union that was created between an egg and a sperm the night before. Pro-life activists believe that once these join, there is life present, and to “terminate” it, no matter how, is morally unacceptable.

This does not make us, as Will Dean said in his article, people who “spend most of (our) time sitting around, thinking how everything other people do is completely wrong … because (we) know that (we) are absolutely right.” We simply believe in something strongly, and think it ought to be common sense to humans that murder is wrong – the problem there comes in with different definitions of murder. True, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) appears (by reports of uninvited investigators I might add, not ones backed by the government) to have handled this particular debate in an unorthodox manner. However, your attack on the religious community was highly unnecessary. Not every pro-lifer is a Christian anyway, but for those of us who are, your comments were particularly offensive.

If you want to complain about the FDA, by all means do so. But leave us out of it; we have done nothing to you. One man gave his opinion on it having to do with God; this does not mean you are free to trash Christians.

If you’re concerned about not being able to participate in that glorious “tide of safe, healthy orgasms” you see approaching, perhaps your date isn’t telling you the whole story. Last I checked girls weren’t turning guys down left and right because they couldn’t get Plan B fast enough.

While Christians do not advocate premarital sex, many would rather people protect themselves than try to “fix the mistakes” after the fact. When you engage in sex, whether you know it or not, you biologically consent to having a child if that should occur.

You compared Plan B to cough medicine and ibuprofen; even you must know that was an illegitimate analogy. You’re attacking pro-lifers as if we would stop cough medicine from becoming over-the-counter if it weren’t already. We push the government to keep human life safe, because we believe that human life begins at the moment of conception.

You do not subscribe to this belief, and that is your right. However, Plan B is a big deal. It’s a controversial drug that remarkably resembles the abortion process. This is not to suggest that you shouldn’t have written your article, but you didn’t think this through clearly enough before scribbling out your anger. Your underlying grievance here seems to be that Christians are keeping the teens of America from “getting any.” Look around you, Will. That is quite obviously not the case.

Lauren Tower

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Mr. D’Amore’s article pertaining to Greek life on this campus. As a proud brother of Phi Alpha Delta, I feel it necessary to respond to his statements.

D’Amore’s column shows a gross misunderstanding of Greek life. Rather than counter all of his points, I feel that The Signal’s readers would be better served through a description of what it is really like to be inside of Greek life, away from the stereotypes.

Greek life has nothing to do with parties, debauchery, etc. At its base, it is about enriching our experiences in these oh-so-important four years of our lives. It is about building a common bond between those around you, learning when to reach out to them for help and learning when to reach out to help others. Greek life is knowing that, at any time, there are any number of brothers/sisters that, at the drop of a hat, would be at your side. It is about pushing yourself to your limits, and learning what you are truly capable of.

Greek life is about bettering yourself and those around you. The skills learned in Greek life are invaluable, and applicable in any aspect of life. There are sound reasons why so many high-ranking politicians and businessmen were members of Greek organizations. In Greek organizations, you learn to operate in an organizational structure, and how to pool the resources of many to achieve a common good, whether it be through community service, campus organizations, or helping out a fellow Greek. Due to these lessons, many Greeks wind up taking on leadership roles in many other aspects of College life. How many Greeks do you know in the office of Residential and Community Development, serving as College Ambassadors, playing on our athletic fields, or leading in the classroom? Think about the question honestly and without bias; the answer might surprise you. In my chapter of 19 brothers, 13 separate organizations are represented.

I know that the person I am now is eons away from the person I was when I was initiated four semesters ago. The man I have become is in large part due not to my experiences in the classroom or on the playing field (though they did play a part), but to my experiences while wearing Greek letters proudly on my chest. Both the things I have done and the people I have met (most of whom I otherwise would have never spoken to) have had an indelible impact on me that I am forever grateful for. And this is not to say that going Greek “brainwashed” me or that it changed who I am as a person. What I mean to say is that Greek Life provided me with the experiences that have enhanced my maturation process.

Had I not gone Greek, I fear that I would have survived at College, no more, no less. I would have graduated in four or five years with a piece of paper in my hand saying I was ready for the real world. Because I am a fraternity man, however, I am thriving and making the most of my four years at this institution. I no longer have to rely on a piece of paper to tell me I am ready for the real world; I know I am. I have seen it written that “You cannot know who you are or what you are capable of until you face adversity. You cannot know the strength of the steel you hold until it strikes something solid.” My experiences here at the College are the adversity I faced to find out who I was. At the core of those experiences was my life as a Greek. It is now as much a part of who I am as my family.

Greek life on this campus is a very complex and dynamic entity, and I hope that what I have written has enabled some of you who are not a part of it to see what it means to be a Greek at The College of New Jersey.

Bryan Vale

Rush Chair

Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity

To the Editor:

In an opinion in the Nov. 30 issue of The Signal, Christopher D’Amore wrote that “Greek life on campus is a disgrace.” This could not be further from the truth. My membership in a fraternity has rewarded me with memories, friendships and leadership skills that I know will last me a lifetime.

Greek organizations sponsor a countless number of on-campus events each year, including Kappa Delta’s Shamrock, Delta Phi Epsilon and Phi Kappa Psi’s Say What Karaoke, Delta Zeta’s Dating Game, Sigma Pi’s Pi Sale, Theta Phi Alpha’s Autumn Angel and so on. Fraternities and sororities do all of this without the benefit of financial support from the Student Finance Board. Every single one of these events is financed out of the pockets of the members of each organization.

Last year I had the pleasure to be the Student Government Association representative to the Development and Alumni Advisory Council. As a member of this council, I know firsthand of the importance that alumni development has on our school. So when D’Amore speaks poorly of “brotherhood” and “sisterhood,” he is underestimating the true significance that these concepts have in regards to the campus and alumni development.

Over the past year, alumni from my organization, some of whom graduated over fifteen years ago, have supported my chapter and the school through financial contributions, networking opportunities and by the simple act of providing advice to undergraduates in the chapter.

D’Amore also wrote about how non-Greek organizations on campus “would love the extra participation and campus unity that would be created if Greek life did not exist.” This is ludicrous. Greeks do not live in a vacuum. Most Greeks are active participants in a variety of student organizations on campus. In fact, one of the criteria in the Chapter Assessment Packet that the the Inter-Greek Council requires each organization to complete yearly is that every organization must have at least 80 percent of its members participate in non-Greek organizations.

Greek life has its act together. Fraternities and sororities at the College are social organizations, but we are not the stereotypical fraternities and sororities found in “Animal House.” We are a community that seeks to promote not only the individual development of our members, but to also make this College a better place.

Eric Pasternack

Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity

To the Editor:

The Nov. 30 edition of The Signal published an opinion article entitled, “Greek organizations need to take some responsibility.” The author specifically cited Sigma Pi. We would like to take this opportunity to show the campus we do not promote the “debauchery” Mr. D’Amore claims we do.

When people think of fraternities, media stereotypes like “Old School” or “Animal House” often come to mind. These are common misconceptions Greeks battle every day as our immense contributions to this campus are continuously overlooked.

Our fraternity has done over 1,000 hours of community service annually. That surely exceeds any “requirement” placed upon us. We just received an award for our work and service with an autism visitation home in Yardville, N.J.

We work hard to educate ourselves and the student body on issues related to college life. In response to the sexual assaults that occurred last year, Sigma Pi, with the Inter-Greek Council, Panhellenic, and the White Ribbon Campaign, organized the first Greek Sexual Assault Awareness Week. It took six months of planning with collaboration from the office of Anti-Violence Initiatives. Sigma Pi was just presented the Student Life Award for Best Community Service Program of 2005.

Like other Greek organizations at the College, we raise thousands of dollars every year for a national philanthropy, ours being The American Red Cross. At our biggest philanthropic event, an annual bachelor auction known as The Pi Sale, we raised over $1,500 for the charity!

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? In business, it states that 20 percent of consumers account for 80 percent of profits. If we were to apply that to this campus, it would be the 80/13 rule. Although Greeks are only 13 percent of this campus, roughly 740 students, we account for a large portion of on-campus educational and social events. Why is it a detriment that a minority of the student population is creating a majority of the programs on this campus? We should be applauded for the incredible efforts we put forth to create a positive experience for all students, not just Greeks.

Furthermore, Greeks are not just Greeks. We are ambassadors, class presidents and vice presidents, members of the College Union Board, Student Government Association senators, musicians, athletes and leaders. “Extra participation?” We believe Greeks participate more than enough, not just with our own organizations, but also with our involvement elsewhere as well.

And guess what? We’re smart too! Greeks have a higher average GPA then the campus at large. We may play hard at times, but when it comes to our work, we study just as hard, if not moreso.

So we apologize, Mr. D’Amore, if all this still seems disgraceful. And we apologize if our common bond unites us and makes others feel left out. We do so only because we have to stay strong together when ignorance is bountiful, and we are so few in numbers.

We can only charge the rest of the campus to keep this statement, made by Daniel Boorstin, an American historian and writer, in mind: “The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.”

We urge everyone to ask a member of Inter-Greek Council, or any Greek, about who we are, what we stand for and everything we do. Find out for yourself if we are a worthwhile group of individuals. Do not let misinformed opinions guide your way of thought and we promise you, you will be impressed.

Gabe Alonso

Sigma Pi Fraternity

To the Editor:

I could list the dozens of philanthropic events the College’s Greeks host or attend, the highways we clean, the times we play with underprivileged children in Trenton schools, or dance with senior citizens. I could mention the $2,000 Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) alone raised this semester, and the millions of dollars ZTA has raised nationally for breast cancer. I could talk about the scholarships Greeks offer, leadership conferences we hold, educational information we distribute.

But apparently people like Chris D’Amore just care that Greeks drink and encourage others to drink.

We, as Greeks, are attacked simply because we’re easy targets. You can’t write an inflammatory article about the “debauchery” that occurs with all students who drink off and on campus – you’d offend too many people! You can’t scrutinize policies in place to keep athletes from drinking excessively, because they do not have a council to regulate them (by the way, the Inter-Greek Council (IGC) and the College do punish behaviors that you claim “pass under the radar” – just ask one of the many organizations penalized). We are the scapegoat of the College and the country for underage drinking, casual sex, drugs, vandalism and violence – basically any deviant behavior that exists in all young adults. We are the scapegoat because we are visible, we are loud, and we are active. We are the scapegoat because we have letters on our chests, and do things outsiders will never begin to understand and, thus, will forever criticize.

It cannot be denied that Greeks contribute a great amount to this world, and if we were to disappear, numerous charities and individuals would be left damaged.

The following short list only reaffirms my feelings. I say “short list” because if I listed every significant American Greek, it would fill all of The Signal. You can try and deny the accomplishments and contributions of the College’s Greeks, but can you deny theirs?

 George Patton

 Rosa Parks

 Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Robert Frost

 Theodore Geisel ( Dr. Seuss)

 Georgia O’Keefe

 Bill Cosby

 Jesse Jackson

 Kevin Costner

 James Dean

 David Letterman

 Michael Jordan

 Thurgood Marshall

 Sarah Jessica Parker

 Brad Pitt

 Elvis Presley

 Wilt Chamberlain

 Jack Nicklaus

 Jesse Owens

 William Brennan

 Henry Ford II

 Paul Simon

 Art Garfunkel

 Kurt Vonnegut

 Sandra Day O’Connor

 Star Jones

 Elizabeth Dole

 Ruth Badar-Ginsberg

And don’t forget 25 U.S. presidents, 17 vice presidents, 155 current members of Congress, and numerous mayors, judges and college and university presidents.

Kait Boyle

Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Mr. D’Amore’s article on behalf of the sisters of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. One of the aspects of Greek life about which D’Amore is most mistaken is our supposedly halfhearted involvement in philanthropy. The sisters of Tri Sigma are dedicated to various philanthropic endeavors because we truly enjoy supporting worthy causes.

In September, we participated in the Suicide Prevention Walk. In October, we entered a team of sisters and brothers from Phi Alpha Delta fraternity in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Woodbridge. We recently held our fourth annual Miss TCNJ Pageant and raised over $1,000 for children’s play therapy and women’s educational programs. We send crafts every winter and spring to hospitals. We held a collection of toys for Angel’s Wings, an organization that protects abused and neglected children.

We are currently collecting the fronts of greeting cards to send to St. Jude’s Children’s Ranch so that they might recycle them and sell them.

We also sponsor Wear Red Day to spread awareness about heart disease. We participate in Run for Robbie at Richard Stockton College, where all New Jersey Sigma chapters raise money for children’s play therapy. Each spring, we participate in the Multiple Sclerosis Walk in Belmar. D’Amore also says that if Greek life were nonexistent, there would be increased participation in the other 150-plus organizations on campus.

Our sisters are very involved in non-Greek organizations, including PEANUTS, Club Tennis, American Criminal Justice Association, Circle K, The Seal, Future Alumni Association, Daily Jolt, Jewish Student Union, Gospel Choir, Catholic Campus Ministries and numerous honor societies. They also hold jobs with the office of Residence and Community Development, the College Ambassadors, the office of Civic Leadership Development, CONTACT of Mercer County, the office of Psychology, College Orientation Guide, the Tutoring Center and the New Jersey State Police CSI Unit’s Internship program.

I hope that this will clear up any further misconceptions in D’Amore’s mind and show him that the sisters of Sigma Sigma Sigma contribute actively to life on campus.

Liz Ricketts

Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority

To the Editor:

From the day I joined my sorority I have been told that no matter how many good things we do, if one bad thing happens, it will erase all the good. The article by Christopher D’Amore is a perfect example. Stating that “fraternities should serve a purpose” and that Greeks are required to do very little is offensive. The amount of time and effort that members of Greek organizations put into events, services and philanthropy is more than a full-time job. Many of these students are also involved in other clubs, honor societies and sports teams and are leaders on campus. We also maintain high GPAs. To claim that the purpose of Greek life is to get drunk is a fallacy.

I challenge D’Amore to sit down with the Inter-Greek Council or a member of any fraternity/sorority and question where most of our time goes. If he did, maybe he would realize that he is making statements based on one drunken freshman.

As much as it seems that all the Greeks are rivals of each other, this is far from the truth. We recognize that there are a small number of Greeks on campus and we need to stick together. The article by D’Amore was not just directed at Sigma Pi, but at all Greeks at the College. For all of you that have MTV’s “Sorority Life” planted in your head, maybe you should come out to one of our many events and (gasp!) support us and our philanthropy. D’Amore cannot criticize when he is completely misguided and unaware of the benefits Greek organizations provide to the community.

Laurie Dellaccio

Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority

To the Editor:

First, we would like to say that Greek life is one of the most rewarding experiences we have been a part of. Surely, most Greeks will tell you the same thing. There are others who are not a part of Greek organizations that would say the same thing about clubs, sports teams or other non-Greek organizations that they are a part of. That said, all organizations, Greek or non-Greek, are made up of human beings. No one is perfect. While there are mistakes that are made within Greek organizations, those same mistakes are made by other organizations as well. We do understand how it may seem that only Greeks are in trouble for holding parties with underage drinking. Never have we seen an article written in support of Greek life because of its rewards. There have not been articles written in praise of the all-Greek GPA being higher than that of the entire campus combined, or the thousands of dollars and hours that we donate to our community.

Our organization sold wristbands with the brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon to support the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Red Cross. The Sisters of Zeta Tau Alpha sponsored a campus-wide Pink Out in support of Breast Cancer research. The sisters of Kappa Delta and the brothers of Phi Alpha Delta sponsored TCNJ’s Making the Band to raise money for each of their individual philanthropies. Sigma Pi sponsored, along with the Inter-Greek Council (IGC), a Sexual Assault Awareness Week. Have you ever seen an article discussing this aspect of Greek life in a newspaper? All that is written about us are the negatives.

Additionally, D’Amore says that IGC should implement some sort of judicial process to deal with any incidents involving Greek organizations. Perhaps he overlooked this in the IGC constitution, but such a board already exists. The judicial board of IGC is made up of elected representatives from the organizations and deals with any incidents that arise. After sanctions are decided, the entire IGC is informed of the incident and the sanctions. Announcing this at IGC meetings is essentially announcing these things to the entire campus, as IGC meetings are open to anyone.

Greek life makes up 13 percent of this campus, and in no way does it discourage other organizations from having the same bonds and closeness that we enjoy. We like to have this bond with other organizations, which we express through countless co-sponsorships with non-Greek organizations. Most of the members of the Greek community are members of other non-Greek organizations.

We feel that the Greek community has done a lot for this campus and the surrounding community. Please do not discredit the work that we do because of isolated incidents for which the involved organizations have already been penalized. We hope that, in the future, Greeks are not seen only as the stereotypes by which we are so often defined. Our letters and traditions mean something to us, and we should not be put down or treated differently than any other organization on campus because of them.

Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority

To the Editor:

The most disturbing portions of Christopher D’Amore’s article were not the vehement slandering or negative tone, but the fact that the author himself does not have the correct information to be making such accusations.

First and foremost, Greeks are potentially the most accountable organization on campus. Each individual chapter has a standards or judicial board. In addition, the Inter-Greek Council (IGC) also possesses such a group as set forth in our constitution. Being a representative for my sorority to IGC for over a year, I have seen the initiative of the judicial board, which has properly dealt with new situations arising within our community.

With regard to the notion that the Greek community detracts potential members from other organizations on campus, D’Amore is mistaken. Every sister in Theta Pi Alpha takes the skills and dedication learned through sisterhood and applies them to the following organizations: Alpha Phi Sigma, Women’s Rugby, the Student Government Association, Women in Learning and Leadership, the College Chorale, Circle K, Club Tennis and Softball, Uni?n Latina, PRISM, College Ambassadors, the office of Residential and Community Development, Kappa Delta Pi, Lions Athletic Pride, Catholic Campus Ministries, Pi Sigma Alpha, the College Union Board, the Professional Nursing Organizations of Students and the TCNJ Steel Lions.

Furthermore, our organizations band together for numerous occasions to raise awareness for causes. IGC worked diligently to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Theta Pi Alpha has paired with Phi Alpha Delta for the Multiple Sclerosis Walk, and Sigma Pi to bring a home for Autism to Hamilton. We hosted our annual Autumn Angel Pageant, which large portions of the Greek community attended, making it our most successful year ever. Since the beginning of her term as IGC president, Laura DeMaio, along with the current executive board, has urged chapters to co-sponsor with other organizations outside of our community. In the past year, great strides have been made by Greeks to branch out to all members of the College community.

In closing, I urge every student at the College to attend the different events sponsored by Greek organizations. We make up 13 percent of the College community and we pride ourselves on being a positive and active percentage. I truly wish that each member of the College campus has the opportunity to find a community they love as much as I love my Greek brothers and sisters.

Danielle Carlo

Theta Phi Alpha Sorority

To the Editor:

As a sister of Delta Zeta sorority at the College, I could not help but feel offended by Christopher D’Amore’s article which attacks the entire Greek community as being irresponsible students whose major contribution to the College consists of getting people drunk. To hear that individuals really believe this is what we Greeks stand for really disappoints me.

As an active member of Greek life, I can tell you that if I had never joined a sorority, my experience at the College for the last four years would not have been nearly as beneficial. The opportunities Delta Zeta has given me include creating programs for the whole campus, working with institutions in the Trenton area, raising money for charities, giving up my time for community service, and I get to do all of these things with my best friends.

On a weekly basis, Greeks present program after program for the benefit of all the College’s students. The programs are very diverse, ranging from guest speakers about sexual abuse or breast cancer to self-defense workshops. Of course, one could argue that we are required to run these programs, but every Greek organization goes above and beyond the requirements to help bring life to the campus. The College has a reputation as a “suitcase school” because so many people go home for the weekends. It is organizations such as the Greeks that give people a reason to stay on campus.

Greeks also participate in a significant amount of community service events. We aren’t required to do more than one event a semester, but we have higher expectations for ourselves than that. Delta Zeta sponsors at least one philanthropic event per month, such as making Thanksgiving baskets for Womanspace or buying Halloween costumes for the Children’s Home Society. Overall, in one semester Delta Zeta donates over $1,200 to different philanthropies.

While our events, on their own, are impressive, the support we show one another is also inspiring. No one requires Delta Zetas to go to support Zeta Tau Alpha’s “Battle of the Sexes” each year, but you can be sure there will be at least 20 of us cheering the contestants on. And you can bet that many of my sisters will spend $50 to $100 individually to support Sigma Pi’s “Pi Sale” this week.

It’s true that Greek organizations hold off-campus parties on the weekend and there may be people that drink excessively while attending them. But most students at the College are legal adults and, therefore, responsible for their own decisions. And Greeks are not the only ones holding parties. Almost any club, team or simply group of friends at the College who happens to live together off campus holds parties. At least when Greeks have a party, they take precautions and try to be smart about it. There are always a few brothers or sisters there trying to keep everyone under control, which is more than can be said for a non-Greek party.

As Greeks, we dedicate so much of our time to our organizations and still mange to keep high GPAs and belong to other clubs on campus. For me, being a sister of Delta Zeta has shaped who I am today for the better. It has given me more confidence in myself and taught me how to be a leader. As a member of our executive board, I make decisions affecting 50 girls. But most importantly, I have met my best friends, who I am proud to call my sisters. I shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed to wear Greek letters, or open my college’s newspaper every week to find derogatory remarks about Greeks. Instead of buying into stereotypes of the “drunken frat dude” or the “slutty sorority girl,” look at the facts, and get to know us as individuals. You’ll find that Greek life at the College is one of the best things about the campus.

Laura Rosenberger

Delta Zeta Sorority

Insensitivity is ‘Nazi’ answer

I was reading The Signal article on the man who set himself on fire and I can’t comprehend how a junior communication studies major, maybe 20 years old, is able to recall the smell of a Nazi concentration camp and able to compare it to a man setting himself on fire on her lawn. Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not a history major, but didn’t Nazi concentration camps kind of go out of style in the ’40s?

Of course I’m sure you read your articles before you put them in the paper, but maybe not. I’m not even Jewish but I’m offended by the fact that this girl thinks it smells like a Nazi camp and amazed that The Signal can just print things like that without even thinking.

I mean, OK, we are in college and free speech is great, but I don’t get where The Signal is going with its Nazi camp comparisons. I’m sure a lot of people were offended.

Between the Nazi references, the two guys kissing on the front cover last week (as if that is the biggest thing happening on campus), and all the other sorts of stuff that has been coming out this year, I can’t understand the purpose of The Signal except to create controversy, offend people, and just push the line as far as it can be pushed. Please enlighten me.

Andrew Graziano